Saturday, 1 August 2009

Film Review: KUNG FU PANDA (2008) [Animated]

Directors: Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 30th July 2009.


The Panda is a slow animal, it takes its time to eat, digest and sleep… most of all they like to sleep. They are not renowned for their speed and agility, just two of the traits, I’m told, are quite good to have when practicing Kung Fu. Unfortunately none of the above is related to the audience of this film, which I found quite bad since that’s the joke, it is not in a panda’s nature to fight, particularly using Kung Fu! Anyhow, I digress, let’s tell you about the movie.

Po is a panda who lives in The Valley of Peace. He works for his father, a duck (I think) for some bizarre reason, running a noodle shop. Po is also a massive fan of ‘The Furious Five’ -- Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey -- legendary Kung Fu warriors. Word is sent that an ancient prophecy is to be fulfilled and that ‘The Dragon Warrior’ is to be chosen. By a quirk of fate the chosen one happens to be Po. He must now train beside his heroes ‘The Furious Five’ under the leadership of their guru Master Shifu. Before they know it, the evil Snow Leopard Tai Lung escapes from prison and is out for revenge on the Valley of Peace and it’s up to Po as the Dragon Warrior to defend them.

Made by DreamWorks, as expected, the animation is really well done and, apart from the omission I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I found it pretty entertaining. There were not too many ‘laugh out loud’ moments for me, but it was well made with a plot that was easy to follow. The voice work by Jack Black as Po, Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, Angelina Jolie as Tigress and Ian McShane as Tai Lung were all very well done. Honourable mentions go to the voice talents of Jackie Chan as Monkey, Seth Rogen as Mantis, Lucy Liu as Viper, David Cross as Crane and Randall Duk Kim as Oogway. Over all, not too bad, but would have benefited from a few more laughs… or maybe I just don’t find Jack Black funny…

My score: 6.5/10

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